Roasted and stir-fried vegetables are layered between flavoured quinoa to create a healthy and colourful take on vegetarian lasagna. My middle daughter is the lone vegetarian in a household of meat lovers. I find lately I've been incorporating more and more vegetarian options into our meals. It's easier on the family budget, the environment and our collective waistlines! That being said, I do find it more difficult to find a vegetarian meal that is "company worthy". This recipe, created with local veggies, is substantial enough to satisfy meat eaters and impressive enough for a casual dinner with friends. While I love how nutritious quinoa is, I sometimes find it a bit bland. Mixing the quinoa layers with 3 different sauces adds a flavour boost. Use the vegetables listed or try ones that are in season in your local area. If you select items that are fresh and colourful you can't go wrong. While the ingredient list looks long don't be daunted, most of the work is building the lasagna layers and the preparation is not complicated. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a light green salad for a delicious, healthy and budget-friendly (under $40 including salad) dinner with friends.
- Portion size 8 servings
- Credits : Cindy Ball
- 2 cups quinoa rinsed until the water is clear
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 8 tablespoons olive oil divided into 4 portions of 2 tbsp each
- 2 dozen cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 red peppers halved, seeds and stems removed
- 1 head garlic top cut off and loose, papery skins removed
- 1 white onion peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 2 portabella mushrooms cleaned and chopped into medium-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3/4 cups sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 3 cups fresh basil stems removed
- 1/2 cup pine nut
- 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese divided in two (one 1/4 cup and one 1/2 cup portion)
- 1 cup goat cheese placed in the freezer for 10 minutes for easy crumbling
- 1 cup sour cream
Method1. Position one rack about 4 inches from the top of the oven and another in the middle of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Combine the rinsed quinoa in a medium size saucepan with 4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Place on high heat and bring the uncovered pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool with the lid off.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cherry tomatoes and the garlic head cut side up on the pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Line a second baking sheet with tinfoil. Place the red peppers cut side down on the pan and place on the rack 4 inches from the top of the oven.
4. Roast the vegetables for 45 - 50 minutes. The tomatoes will be falling apart and dark around the edges, the garlic cloves will be soft and mushy and the red pepper skins should be black. The tomatoes and garlic may be ready slightly before the peppers so keep an eye on them. Remove everything from the oven. Wrap the tinfoil tightly around the red peppers and let steam inside the tinfoil to help loosen the skins. Set the tomatoes and garlic aside.
5. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Once the tomatoes, garlic and peppers are in the oven begin to stir-fry the onions and mushrooms. Place the sliced onion in a large dry skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is quite soft and starts to stick to the pan a bit, about 20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and continue cooking the onion for another 5 minutes until it is soft and brown. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
7. Mix the beaten eggs into the cooked quinoa.
8. Coat the bottom and inside ring of a 9 inch spring-form pan with some olive oil.
9. In a food processor finely chop the sundried tomatoes in oil. In a medium sized bowl stir together the chopped sundried tomatoes with 2 cups of the quinoa mixture. This is the red layer. Press the red layer into the bottom of the spring-form pan. Note: You'll be using the food processor and bowl again for the other layers so just rinse clean for the next round.
10. Place the cooked onions and mushrooms on top of the red quinoa layer and crumble 1/2 cup of goat cheese on top.
11. Place the basil in the food processor with the pinenuts and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process until finely chopped. In the medium bowl combine the basil mixture with 2 cups of the quinoa mixture. This is the green layer. Press the green layer into the pan.
12. Unwrap the roasted red peppers from the tinfoil and peel off the skins. Layer the skinned red peppers and roasted cherry tomatoes on top of the green quinoa layer and crumble 1/2 cup of goat cheese on top.
13. In the food processor combine 5 garlic cloves squeezed from the roasted head and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Puree for a few minutes. In a medium sized bowl combine the garlic/cheese mixture with the remaining 2 cups of the quinoa mixture. Make sure to stir well so the garlic is evenly distributed. This is the white layer. Press the white layer into the pan. The mixture should be approaching the top of the pan at this point.
14. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 parmesan cheese on top. Place the spring form pan on top of a cookie sheet (to avoid any leaks into your oven) and bake on the middle rack in the oven for approximately 35 minutes. It is done when the cheese on the top is brown and crusty.
15. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a green salad.
Note: All or a portion of this dish can be prepared in advance. If you're making quinoa, make extra and keep the extra 6 cups in the fridge. If you have time, roast and stir fry the veggies and make the sauces the day before and then assemble the layers the day of your get together. For a super easy supper, prepare everything in advance and cover the lasagna with foil and refrigerate. On the day of your dinner, remove from the refrigerator and re-heat in a 400 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes until the cheese is crusty on top.